The Alta Vista Transportation Corridor (AVTC) is a proposed four-lane freeway running northwest from Walkley Avenue near Conroy Avenue in Alta Vista to the Nicholas on-ramp between Old Ottawa East and Sandy Hill. First proposed over half a century ago, it’s an antiquated scheme to funnel vehicles from outlying areas to the core. In the decades since, the city has evolved. We have declared a climate emergency. We understand the value of 15-minute neighbourhoods. And we are investing heavily in transit and intensification downtown.

Nonetheless, the AVTC appears in schedule C4 of the new Draft Official Plan as a “future arterial”—a dotted red line cutting through the communities of Elmvale, Canterbury, Riverview, Altavista and Old Ottawa East. It would join the already constructed hospital link road from the Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus to Riverside Drive. This 1.2k section cost approximately $55M to build, and rough estimates for the entire AVTC are upward of $250M.

We believe the city should remove the AVTC from the Draft Official Plan. Whether you agree or not, we encourage you to write directly to [email protected] through the e-mail function on this page, so that those drafting the Official Plan are aware of the views of residents. A draft e-mail stating opposition to the AVTC is provided, but you can replace it, or otherwise modify it to make it your own using the key points below as you see fit.

Key Points

  • The proposed highway would pave over roughly 1 km2 of green space, the equivalent of 187 football fields. Residents use this space for walking, community gardens and competitive sports. It also provides important ecosystem services like storm-water filtration and habitat for local wildlife.
  • Building a freeway through green space in our central urban neighborhoods is antithetical to the climate change emergency declared by the city, as well as our stated goals to promote active transportation and public transportation over single-occupancy vehicles.
  • The path of the AVTC runs straight through Lees field by Springhurst Park which serves as the only immediate green space for the residents of the Lees Towers and a destination for surrounding neighborhood. The pandemic has underscored how essential local parks and green spaces are for our collective well-being and mental health. Once we pave them over, we can’t get them back.
  • The Lees Towers have one of the highest concentrations of affordable housing in Capital Ward. It is a diverse population that includes residents of many vulnerable or marginalized groups. Building a freeway next to them perpetuates a pattern of environmental racism that we do not want as part of the legacy of this Official Plan.
  • This freeway would isolate the three Lees Towers buildings and future development around Lees Station from the rest of the community in Old Ottawa East. We know the city is moving toward a model of 15-minute neighborhoods, which should be well-integrated into their surroundings and close to essential services. The AVTC would cut off residents of the Lees Towers from their 15-minute neighbourhood.
  • Lees Field and Springhurst Park are also primary destinations for students from Lady Evelyn Alternative School and will be used by the incoming French Catholic School. Building a freeway with associated emissions next to a playground, and planned school and community centre is a public health risk from an air quality standpoint.

The city is also planning a Question and Answer session on The New Official Plan on March 24th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. You can find more information, as well as links to register for the event, here

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